Firefighters arrive just in time to keep mud out of La Jolla home



Staff Writer

Surveying the aftermath of mudslide damage at his La Jolla home at 2569 Hidden Valley Road that happened on Dec. 22, Sean Erickson said today considers himself lucky: Sort of.

“I got a call from my wife at work screaming there was a river of mud coming down the steps onto the patio and the house was going to flood,” he said. “The fire department got out here maybe five minutes later and they built a trench system that had all the water and mud flow around the house. Had they been five minutes later, we probably would have had mud in the house.”

Erickson said the makeshift diversion system worked, but added that created other problems in his front lawn, a corner of which was completely flooded.

“A drain was blocked,” he said. “There was so much mud it backed up the last 6 feet of the pipe. I had to get a plumber in here to snake it out.”

His home is directly below a home at 7538 Caminito Avola that was "yellow-tagged" by city workers on Dec. 22 after Erickson's wife reported the mudslide. Their inspection revealed several cracks of internal walls and interior doors that were sticking. A notice on the property adds that it appears the structure is moving north due to instability in the north of the property.

A spokeswoman for the city's Development Services Department said Monday afternoon this is the only La Jolla structure damaged to the extent that it required a yellow tag that they know of at this point. They are in a "wait and see" mode with more rain coming, she added.

Virginia Wall, mother of homeowner Richard Wall, was asked to leave the home. On Monday, Richard Brehm, president of Colony Hill Homeowners Association, said she was staying with her son in Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, crews hired by the association had place plastic tarps on the hillside behind her home.

Below the scene on Monday, Erickson, a civilian firefighter at Camp Pendleton, said all the electricity is still out in his front yard and in his home security system. He added damage is not covered by insurance.

“They consider it an act of God,” he said.

Though the inside of his home was spared, Erickson feels he’s “inherited” the drainage problem of his neighbors in Colony Hill, several hundred feet above his house on the top of the bluff.

“Colony Hill had a pissing contest with the city over a water main break four year ago,” he said. “They got their money — I got their mud.”



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